Priority Based Budgeting
What is Priority Based Budgeting?
Priority-Based Budgeting calls for our organization to be comprehensive and strategic in our efforts to accomplish our mission to make Finney County the healthiest, safest, and most prosperous county in the state.
Priority-Based Budgeting gets us to think about our programs as investments, rather than simply as costs. We want to invest our resources in programs that meet our values and goals, as opposed to simply continuing to fund programs the way we have always funded in the past.
The Philosophy of Priority Based Budgeting
The underlying philosophy of Priority Based Budgeting is about how a government entity should invest resources to meet it's stated objectives. It helps us to better articulate why the services we offer exist, what price we pay for them, and, consequently, what value they offer citizens. The principles associated with this philosophy of budgeting are:
Prioritize Services: Priority Based Budgeting evaluates the relative importance of individual programs and services rather than entire departments. It is distinguished by prioritizing the services a government provides, one versus another.
Do the Important Things Well: In a time of revenue decline, a traditional budget process often attempts to continue funding all the same programs it funded last year, albeit at a reduced level (e.g. across-the-board budget cuts). Priority-driven budgeting identifies the services that offer the highest value and continues to provide funding for them, while reducing service levels, divesting, or potentially eliminating lower value services.
Question Past Patterns of Spending: An incremental budget process doesn't seriously question the spending decisions made in years past. Priority-driven budgeting puts all the money on the table to encourage more creative conversations about services.
Spend Within the Organization's Means: Priority Based Budgeting starts with the revenue available to the government, rather than last year's expenditures, as the basis for decision making.
Know the True Cost of Doing Business: Focusing on the full costs of programs ensures that funding decisions are based on the true cost of providing a service.
Provide Transparency of Community Priorities: When budget decisions are based on a well-defined set of community priorities, the government's aims are not left open to interpretation.
Provide Transparency of Service Impact: In traditional budgets, it is often not entirely clear how funded services make a real difference in the lives of citzens. Under priority-driven budgeting, the focus is on the results the service produces for achieving community priorities.
Demand Accountability for Results: Traditional budgets focus on accountability for staying within spending limits. Beyond this, Priority Based Budgeting demands accountability for results that were the basis for a service's budget allocation.